Wichita-area students named National Merit semifinalists

Twenty-five Wichita-area students were named semifinalists Wednesday in the National Merit Scholarship competition.

Only four of the semifinalists attend Wichita public schools. Eleven attend Wichita Catholic or private schools — including two from the Classical School of Wichita, which has 24 seniors. One is homeschooled.

As is usually the case, the Blue Valley school district in northeast Kansas boasted the highest number of National Merit semifinalists in the state, with 46.

Students become semifinalists by taking the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test during their junior year and scoring in the top one-half of 1 percent in the state.

Nationwide, about 16,000 students were named semifinalists. About 15,000 are expected to achieve finalist status based on other requirements, such as academic skills, extracurricular accomplishments and an essay.

Finalists will compete next spring for 2,500 National Merit Scholarships of $2,500.

National Merit semifinalists from the Wichita area:

  • Andover Central High — Jacqueline Jessop

  • Andover High — Benjamin Lonc

  • Bishop Carroll — Julia Johnson, Bret Vaughn

  • Classical School of Wichita — Sarah Green, William Kenas

  • Derby High — Katrina Mason, Malayna Unkel

  • Goddard Eisenhower High — Christian Hawkins, Cedric Pannell

  • Goddard High — Steven Kurtzweil

  • Homeschool — Joseph Vinduska

  • Independent School — Malar Muthukumar

  • Kapaun Mount Carmel — Kaegan Cowan, Kadi Stithem

  • Maize South High — Corey McDowell

  • Wichita Collegiate — Ashley Bajaj, Joshua Fernandes, Ashok Reddy, Conor Reid-Tedesco

  • Wichita East — Tony Hong, Samuel Hutchinson, Srinivasan Madhavan, Ian Phares

  • Valley Center High — Allison Schul

Mingee Kim and Joshua Lawton, two of 10 National Merit semifinalists from Wichita East High School, talk about what the scholarship means to them.